Kingston has a pretty happenin’ bar scene, with the Hub (Alehouse aka AJ’s, Stages, The Brass, The Griz and Elixir) drawing huge crowds night after night, while other downtown establishments (The Iron Duke , Brew Pub, Tir Na Nog, Merchant , and Joy) chorale the rest of Kingston’s age of majority card holders. Categorically, the former cater to students who enjoy loud dance music and the odd live concert, while the latter are for those who enjoy a pub-like atmosphere, and frequent concerts featuring local musicians. There’s nearly a bar on every street corner between the Hub and the waterfront, which makes it easy to find a place to grab a pint or cut a rug on any given night. With some new establishments making their way onto the scene, Kingston’s night life destinations are better than ever.
The old standard of Smijies closed within the last year, and re-opened as BarNone, located in the plaza just behind Stages. Although not much on the inside has changed since the days of ‘The Smij’, BarNone has kicked it up a few notches with a regular open mic, loads of locally flavored concerts featuring the likes of Chris Koster , Pelt, Me Man Jack, and Vancougar . Their ‘dress to impress’ dress code, and bottle service could make for a high class evening on the town that doesn’t really exist anywhere else.
On the other side of the Hub, is the Living Room , located inside the Renaissance Event Venue on Queen Street. This place advertises itself as Kingston’s coolest venue for live music, although it’s a bit early to know whether or not they’ll live up to that claim, the early reports are extremely positive. This month they’ve had concerts featuring Ianspotting , Virginia Creepers, Music Maul and Sarah Harmer (on drums, but still cool), so it’s safe to say that the Living Room is also worth checking out soon.
Last but certainly not least is the successor to Gusto’s Italian Eatery, which is now known as Legendz. Admitedly, I don’t even know if this place is open yet, but if I recall correctly, it’s now owned by the same people that used to operate Lino’s. If you remember Lino’s, you’ll recall that it was a bit of dive that catered to the crowd that enjoyed 99 cent spagetti dinners, karaoke and cheap drinks. Although Legendz is being advertised as a night club and eatery, I am not confident it can survive amongst the well established giants of the Hub. That said, only time will tell if Kingston will be kinder to Legendz than it was to Lino’s.